Metropolitan News-Enterprise
Friday, January 28, 2000
Page 1

Superior Court Judge Pamela Rogers' Tentative Rating From County Bar Panel Less Than 'Well Qualified'

By a staff writer

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Pamela Rogers has received a tentative rating from the Los Angeles County Bar Association's evaluation panel, the judge reported yesterday, indicating that she failed to receive the group's top rating of "well-qualified."

Rogers, seeking re-election to the seat she won six years ago in the Antelope Judicial District, said she would not discuss her rating until after final ratings are released in mid-February. The issuance of a tentative rating, however, means that Rogers failed to be rated well-qualified, since all such ratings are final, rather than tentative, and are not transmitted to candidates under the Committee on Judicial Election Evaluations procedures.

Rogers was rated qualified six years ago when she won her seat, defeating Superior Court Commissioner Victor Reichman in a runoff. She has since been admonished by the Commission on Judicial Performance for failing to decide several cases within the 90-day period following submission.

Rogers is opposed by Palmdale attorney William Clark, who did not return calls placed to his office Wednesday and yesterday, and Acton attorney Larry Layton, who said Wednesday he was rated qualified and did not plan to appeal. Two other candidates' tentative ratings were learned yesterday.

Beverly Hills Municipal Court candidate John Khoury said he was tentatively rated "not qualified" and may appeal.

Khoury, a West Los Angeles sole practitioner, said he was advised by the panel that his tentative rating was based on his having "not cooperated with them in turning over information." He declined to comment on what information the committee was seeking, but expressed concern that complying with its request might compromise client confidentiality.

Also, Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Christopher Estes said he was rated "qualified" for the open Antelope Municipal Court seat he is seeking and would probably not appeal.

Under court unification, the winners of this year's elections will be sworn in as Superior Court judges next year. But because the election process had already begun before unification was approved, a transitional law provides that the elections will take place in the former municipal court districts as if those courts still existed.

Khoury is running against Commissioner Hugh Bobys, Beverly Hills attorney Mitchell Dawson, and Deputy District Attorney Richard Stone Jr. for an open seat in the Beverly Hills district. Bobys and Stone reported that they have not received tentatives, pointing to a well-qualified rating, while Dawson did not return calls placed to his office each of the last three days.

Estes is running against David Bianchi, who primarily handles family law cases at the Lancaster firm where he has practiced for 17 years. The prosecutor, who was admitted to practice in 1991, said the committee was concerned about his relative lack of experience.

If elected, Estes would take the Superior Court bench almost a year shy of the 10 years' State Bar membership normally required of a judge of that court. He would, however, be permitted to serve under a special provision of Proposition 220, the constitutional amendment dealing with court unification.

Bianchi told the MetNews Wednesday he had not received a tentative rating, but could not be reached yesterday.


Copyright Metropolitan News Company, 2000